Greg Sargent notes a memo summarizing a new poll on energy reform conducted by Obama pollster Joel Benenson for Clean Energy Works, a coalition of clean energy advocates. The poll finds that in the wake of BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico public demand to break our addiction to oil remains strong.
Even when given the argument against moving forward with energy reform, 59% said they wanted to move forward with energy reform immediately as opposed to 31% who preferred to wait.
31% agreed with this statement against reform: “Senators would be wrong to try to use this tragedy to pass a huge new Washington program and job-killing energy tax. Their plan will raise the price of gas right at the pump, hurt middle class families and stop oil drilling in America, which is a big part of the long-term solution to making us less dependent on foreign oil.”
As you can see, it's not even close. In the polling memo, Benenson writes:
Overall, 61% of 2010 voters support and just 31% oppose a bill “that will limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy. It would do this in part by charging energy companies for carbon pollution in electricity or fuels like oil.”
A majority of poll respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a Senator who supported the legislation and less likely to support one who didn't.
These kind of numbers support the notion that the best way to fight offshore drilling is to fight our addiction to oil. Everything else being equal, people would prefer not to drill offshore, but as long as we're hooked on oil, battling it will be a constant uphill struggle. If we can break that addiction through more intelligent and efficient energy usage as well as by developing alternative sources of energy, then support for offshore drilling will collapse, because Americans won't see the need for it.
Moreover, these numbers suggest that swiftly passing a good energy reform bill would be a political win for Democrats as we head into November elections. Given the oil industry's political clout, getting something passed won't be an easy task, but the public is hungry for action. Democrats would be smart to take notice.